A man accused of the 2002 murders of Carter Elliott, 48, and Timothy Robertson, 25, will be extradited to Arkansas next week to face charges of capitol murder.
According to Cody Hiland, prosecuting attorney for the 20th Judicial District, Richard Conte, 61, is expected to be in Conway late next week.
"We filed a governor’s warrant, which began the process of extraditing Mr. Conte back to Faulkner County," he said. "He had a hearing and a judge in Nevada ordered him back. We expect him to be in Faulkner County late next week."
Conte, who is currently in the Northern Nevada Correctional Center, was the Conway Police Department’s prime suspect in the murders of Elliott, 48, and his employee Timothy Robertson, 25. Elliott owned industrial solvent manufacturer Detco and was a mentor to Robertson. The pair were working together to build a deck for Elliott’s home in the Shady Valley subdivision in west Conway when they were killed on May 18, 2002.
Conte served nine years of a 15-year sentence for kidnapping his ex-wife, Lark Gathright-Elliott about a month after the murders. According to investigators, Conte drove to Salt Lake City, drugged her and placed her and her clothing in the back of his truck. He took her to his Clear Creek home in Douglas County, Nev., where she was found and freed two days after being kidnapped.
Gathright-Elliott was previously married to Carter Elliott.
Conte was scheduled to be released in late August but was not because of the murder charges filed in Conway.
Ashley Waldron, daughter of Carter Elliott, said she has mixed emotions about Conte coming to Conway.
"On one hand, I am excited because I know why he’s here and needs to be held responsible for killing my dad," she said. "On the other hand, I’m overwhelmed. I’m concerned about having to face him. I really don’t want to see him, but I am thankful that he will finally stand trial for his actions."
Waldron’s brother, Trey Elliott, said that he is concerned that someone he considers to be a monster will now be in the community he lives in.
"I am glad that he is finally going to face charges, I didn’t think this day would ever come, but I hoped it would," he said. "However, on the other hand, a murderer is going to be in town. This man is the worst criminal possible and I’m not sure an animal like this has ever been in the Faulkner County jail. I know that everyone at the jail is well trained but I hope they keep the doors locked and they stay on their toes because he is good at confusing people and being deceitful."
Conte and his attorney fought extradition in two previous hearings but were notified on Wednesday that the decision was no longer in their hands as a judge ordered Conte’s extradition.
In 2002, investigators stated that Conte was not arrested at the time of the murders because evidence against him was circumstantial.
Among evidence that was found to link Conte to the murders was copies of downloaded Conway maps and the scanner frequencies for local police agencies, found on his computer.
(Candie Beck is a staff writer and can be reached at 505-1238 or at firstname.lastname@example.org)